Swimming: Nathan Adrian the big winner at inaugural Singapore Swim Stars

The world's best swimming sprinters gathered at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Friday for the inaugural Prudential Singapore Swim Stars, and it was Nathan Adrian's star who shone the brightest. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The world's best swimming sprinters gathered at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Friday for the inaugural Prudential Singapore Swim Stars, and it was Nathan Adrian's star who shone the brightest. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

THE world's best swimming sprinters gathered at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Friday for the inaugural Prudential Singapore Swim Stars, and it was Nathan Adrian's star who shone the brightest.

The United States freestyle specialist was simply irrepressible at the nine-event meet, and finished with two wins in the 100m and 50m free final.

Said Adrian, who won the blue-riband 50m free race with a time of 21.72sec: "I was a little surprised. It's my fourth time diving into the water, and I was pretty tired. But it was an energising win, after my lacklustre Pan-Pacific performance. I think I can go faster next year."

Australian Melanie Schlanger was the night's other big winner, winning both the women's 100m and 50m free.

Spectators expecting a run-of-the-mill swim meet were pleasantly surprised, as they were entertained by light shows, a drum crew, and synchronised swimming performances, with pop music reverberating non-stop throughout the arena.

Fun was not just limited to the fans. It was also the buzzword among the swimmers, with many agreeing such an event should happen on a more regular basis.

Said 50m and 100m breaststroke world record holder Ruta Meilutyte, who won the women's 100m breaststroke last night: "It's amazing fun, really. Everyone's relaxed, we're all having a good time, and I'll definitely come back (next year)."

The Lithuanian added she might be racing here soon in the Singapore leg of the Fina Swimming World Cup.

The Singapore Swim Stars, a three-day swimming festival, continues on Saturday with the swimmers conducting clinics at 10 different locations. They will then team up with selected students for a relay swim-off at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. It concludes with an open water challenge on Sunday.